The closest many of us ever come to seeing a tea plantation is when we open up the Lipton box. But at least we all have an image of what one looks like, right? The long, winding rows of green, delicate leaves reaching for the sun in remote areas of the world. Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world, and has been a staple to many for over 5,000 years. If you’ve planned a vacation to Charleston, South Carolina, go see and learn all there is to know about tea making, from the planting, harvesting and production at Charleston Tea Plantation.
What To Do at The Charleston Tea Plantation
Charleston Tea Plantation, the only tea plantation in the states, can be found on the beautifully preserved Wadmalaw Island. Thanks to its sandy soils, sub-tropical climate and 52 inches of rainfall per year, the 10 x 6-mile island is ideal for the growth of the Camellia Sinensis plant, which is used to produce both black and green teas. The plant exists in over 320 varieties on the 127-acre grounds of the Charleston Tea Plantation, and is used to produce American Classic Tea.
During a visit, make sure to take a trolley tour of the plantation. The ride is narrated by William Barclay Hall, founder of American Classic Tea. He will narrate the plantation’s history and point out different varieties of the Camellia Sinensis plant. If it’s harvest season on the plantation, you may catch sight of the Green Giant, the custom-designed tea leaf harvester, in action. There are many different tour times, so you should have no problem catching a ride when you go visit. If you have to wait, walk around the plantation yourself and take some pictures, or stroll around the gift shop (which is where you buy the tickets). Take pictures of the scenery and buy a trinket or some tea from the gift shop so you can share your memories of this leg of your vacation.
You can make visiting the Charleston Tea Plantation an all-day event by pairing it with a visit Angel Oak, the oldest living thing east of the Rockies, and the only vineyard in Charleston, Irvin-House Vineyards. The short drive from the resort in Charleston to Wadmalaw Island is even scenic, making it all the more enjoyable.